Marches LEP reacts to Autumn statement
The chief executive of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership welcomed the focus on business in the Autumn statement.
Rachel Laver said moves to reduce business taxation and promote economic growth were welcome in the wake of the cost-of-living crisis and economic difficulties of the last year.
But she said the Government needed to do more to help businesses meet their Net Zero and environmental responsibilities.
“The focus on business growth in today’s statement was certainly welcome and something we would hope is carried through into March’s Budget and beyond,” Rachel said.
“The abolition of Class 2 National Insurance and reduction of the rate in Class 4 are a boost for our self-employed business community. Small businesses too will benefit from the freezing of the small business multiplier and we’re pleased the Chancellor has extended 75% business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure until 2025.
“The long-term commitment around full expensing will help businesses invest and plan for the future and is another welcome move.
“But there needs to be support for businesses to help them do the right thing in regard to the environment and Net Zero. The success of our Marches Energy Grant – which offers firms an energy audit and grant help to introduce energy-saving and Net Zero measures – shows that the appetite is there for such measures.
“There is a need for the Government to drive the change required and work with organisations such as the Marches Growth Hub – the LEP’s business support service – to ensure that businesses are given every opportunity to innovate and take action to reduce emissions and protect the future of the planet.
“Encouraging the take-up of new technologies, promoting innovation and working with business and partners to fill the UK’s skills gap can help drive the growth the country needs and boost productivity in a truly sustainable way.”
In the last 12 months the LEP – which covered Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin – has launched its Marches Energy Fund, a £4million programme of work which will address the skills gap through a new Low Carbon Technology Centre in Herefordshire, work to free up capacity on the region’s National Grid network and deliver the Marches Energy Grant.
In recent weeks it announced a major new capital investment fund worth £500,000 to invest in projects which boost business, help build skills and employability and drive the move to Net Zero.